Following this link from Homemakers Who Work? Sorry-I have a sick kid today--I will write a nice (maybe naughty) post this afternoon! Check back soon. Kris
This week I received an e-mail from my state professional association, it was a copy of an email sent to MY state legislators informing them that WI veterinarians are against the raw milk bill. What? When did I say that? Did I miss some poll? The e-mail got me going for several reasons. I am FOR raw milk; at least give us, the unthinking masses the chance to choose. I am also paying association dues to be misrepresented. The WVMA (and national AVMA) is also very much for NAIS--another topic you do not want to get me started on! The threshold has been broken-I am ticked, these blog rants are a way for me to blow off a little steam before I settle down and write a good logical, professional(but still mad) letter to the WVMA.
Wisconsin is agriculture. In fact the county in which I live used to be known for having more Holsteins than humans! Due to historically low milk prices (something on the order of $0.84/gallon) to the farmer-they are bleeding red ink this year. A combination of declining milk exports and high prices for feed have created an estimated 'average' loss of $47 per cow each month. Farms are going out of business (which by the way does not mean less milk produced-someone buys and milks those cows), which means people loosing their livelihoods, their retirement equity, and in most cases their homes. Farmers are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
The whole and local food movement has created a demand for raw unprocessed milk. Dairymen who sell milk fresh from the farm can make $4-7 per gallon, a living wage-unfortunately this is illegal in WI. The bill in front of the State would allow class A dairies to apply for a raw milk permit and legally sell unprocessed-straight from the cow milk, without being held liable for possible damages-unless obviously negligent. Bonus-they can pay their mortgage, pay their bills, and have something left over for retirement.
Yes, you can get sick from raw milk. It's going to happen. Listeria, brucella, e. Coli, Q fever-there are all sorts of nasties which can live and multiply in milk. But wouldn't you rather have permitted farms selling milk or black-market, under the table sales? To have a raw permit-the dairies should have scheduled bulk tank sampling and cultures, a Johne's negative herd. It is a win-win situation. People get the product they want, the state gets permit revenues, the farmer gets a financially viable business ( and oh yeah large animal DVM's have increased revenue from the additional testing as well as farmer who can actually pay their bills each month!)
The milk safety issue is an interesting one. There is the acute illness we can see and measure when there is a local outbreak of gastrointestinal disease, this is (relatively) easy to lay blame on contaminated milk (or peanut butter or spinach). But what about the chronic health problems which lead from a life-time of eating processed, dead foods? There is no way to measure something like that. As a person of Northern European descent, I believe my body is more capable of dealing with the occasional bacterium in a traditional food like whole milk than in highly processed dead food. I trust eons of natural selection and symbiosis over 100 years of 'progress'. Which is the safer food? Food scientists are really smart and we have come a long way, but I don't think we have come close to understanding the subtlety and complexity of nutrition.
Come on Wisconsin-at least pretend you care about your farmers more than you cater to agribusiness.
Some links to look at for more info www.realmilk.com http://rally4rawmilk.blogspot.com/